With more and more men and women changing their last names after marriage, there’s an increasing need to learn how to change your name on a dozen or more personal financial documents, your driver’s license and other legal instruments. Regardless of why you’ve changed your first or last name, the process for changing your name on a brokerage account will include many of the following steps.
Contact Your Brokerage Firm
While many of the steps are the same for changing your name on a brokerage account, each firm might have slightly different requirements. For example, one firm might not accept copies of legal documents or will want copies notarized, while another might be fine with copies. You can call your firm’s customer service department or look on its website for instructions for changing a name.
Get Your Legal Proof
Once your broker tells you exactly what you will need to make the name change, get the legal documents you need to verify your new identity. This might include original copies or a notarized copy of your name-change certificate.
You might need a copy of your new driver’s license or passport. Fidelity Investments, for example, requests a driver’s license or passport and another legal document that shows your new name, such as a divorce decree, marriage certificate or court order. If you want to make a Robinhood name change, be prepared to send a photo of the legal name-change document, an updated photo ID and a letter of authorization.
Fill Out the Forms
Once you have all the information you need to make your change, including your personal legal documents and the forms provided by the brokerage firm, fill out your paperwork. The information requested might include your brokerage account number, your name as it currently appears on the account, the new name you want to appear on the account, your mailing address, phone number, Social Security number, birth date and the legal documents the firm requests as part of the process.
Sign your new name exactly as you want it to appear on your brokerage account (which will have to match your legal documents). While it might not be required, you can provide added security by having a notary public stamp your documents and then mailing your documents by certified mail, which requires the recipient to provide proof of receipt with a signature.
Name Change or Person Change?
In some cases, you might not be looking to change the name of a person who is currently and will remain on your brokerage account, but will instead be looking to drop or add a person to your account (such as a spouse or child).
In that case, the process for adding or removing a name will be different. Contact your firm to learn how to do this, which will often include all parties involved requesting and confirming the change. Fidelity lists 10 different scenarios for wanting an account updated like this, and provides change instructions for each. In the event of a death, you’ll most likely need to obtain a death certificate.
Steve Milano has written more than 1,000 pieces of personal finance and frugal living articles for dozens of websites, including Motley Fool, Zacks, Bankrate, Quickbooks, SmartyCents, Knew Money, Don't Waste Your Money and Credit Card Ideas, as well as his own websites.